The Tesco Experience

I have a weird, unexplainable and absolute resistance to food shopping. Sometimes I don’t go food shopping for weeeeeeks. In fact, the only thing that stops us all from starving is my inside connection to the Ninja Hotel kitchen. However it is now January. The hotel is all “do not disturb”. The doors are locked and the only thing to be found in the kitchen is a lump of cheddar cheese, the size of a breeze block.

Which means that today became food shopping day. The kids, seeming to sense the impending supermarket evil, spent the entire journey taking turns in declaring themselves car sick or dying.  If this wasn’t painful enough, as we arrived in the car park Andrew began getting “I  can’t make up my mind where to park” anxiety. He then proceeded to make the poor little Fiat in front think it had a stalker. I wasn’t much help either. To busy noticing the countless cunning Tesco slogans printed wherever I looked – “WE HELP YOU SPEND (less every day)” – I had suddenly remembered why I hate food shopping. It’s the supermarkets.

Supermarkets are demonic forces that have somehow hypnotised our people into thinking they’re wuuuunderful. And yes, they ARE convenient and they are cheaper … After all, they “help us to spend” – oh yeah ” – less”, but in doing so the poor greengrocers, butchers, and other independently owned shops all begin to starve and wither away. Lovely people who resemble the characters from Greendale are devoured by greedy, munching Supermarket monsters and instead we have to shuffle from aisle to aisle, speaking to no one, looking at no one, just shuffling …

Supermarkets have stolen our communities. They have stolen the gorgeousness from our high streets! I read that a recent report to parliament in the UK showed that small retailers are closing at a rate of 2000 a year and that, as a sector, they will by completely wiped out by 2015* This basically means that by believing it’s cheaper and more convienient to shop at supermarkets, we will eventually have no choice to shop anywhere else at all. They will control everything that we consume and no one will be able to compete.

Do we want the gorgeous shops like those found in cobbled Cornish streets to vanish?! Do we want to buy things that are good quality, fairly traded and gorgeous? Do we want to have a smile and a conversation with the person whose selling us our bananas or would we rather reach past some poor Tescos employee who has been made to dress like an Umper-Lumpa whilst stacking shelves in the fruit and vegetable aisle?

Gorgeousness is about turning away from the dangling carrots of the Giant Companies as well as the beauty industry.

And so now it’s therefore decided. This year I declare myself (and the kids – and Andrew if he wants) free from the mean, clanking supermarket world. Instead we will step into the rich, jousting, enjoyable, colourful, liveliness of small retailers. Goodbye weird, industrial world of Ian Bradbury Tesco car parks and hello gorgeous high street community! And I might just nip to the Ninja Hotel and get some of that cheddar too …

* How To Be Free – Tom Hodgkinson


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